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    Google Unveils Its Nexus 10 Tablet

    So is this the one that will be an iPad killer?

    Google picked New York for the unveiling of its new $399 Nexus 10 tablet yesterday. Unfortunately, that was also the day Superstorm Sandy picked to come crashing through, so the event didn't come off.

    However, glitzy ceremony or not, the tablet is today "unveiled" on Google Play. You can't order it until Nov. 13 though.

    What's so different about the Android-powered Nexus 10 that will cause consumers to pass up an iPad, Kindle Fire or any of the other tablets out there?

    Well, for one thing, it has what Google insists is "the world’s highest resolution tablet display, all new multi-user features, immersive HD content and the best Google apps."

    The base model also has 16 GB of memory and comes with WiFi only. If you want to use it on the cellphone network, you'll need a mobile hotspot.

    The device, made by Samsung, is Google's most serious attempt so far to take a bite out of Apple's latest, full-size iPad, which sells for $499. Or you could pick up a Kindle Fire HD with an 8.9-inch screen and 16 GB for $299. 

    Nexus 4

    Google also introduced its Nexus 4 smartphone yesterday. Made by LG Electronics, the new phone has a 4.7-inch screen and a charging pad that lets you charge the phone without wires.

    Google is selling the phone for $299 without a wireless contract, or you can get it through T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract.

    Google picked New York for the unveiling of its new $399 Nexus 10 tablet yesterday. Unfortunately, that was also the day Superstorm Sandy picked to come cr...
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    Smoke-Free Laws Led Quickly to Fewer Hospitalizations

    People remain at risk when exceptions to smoke-free laws are made

    Laws that ban smoking apparently are making a difference.

    According to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, fewer people are ending up in the hospital and dying from heart and respiratory diseases, thanks to smoke-free legislation.

    Researchers reviewed 45 studies covering 33 smoke-free laws at the local and state levels around the United States and from countries as varied as Uruguay, New Zealand and Germany and found:

    • Comprehensive smoke-free laws were associated with a rapid 15 percent decrease in heart attack hospitalizations and 16 percent decrease in stroke hospitalizations.
    • Smoke-free laws were also rapidly followed by a 24 percent decrease in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
    • The most comprehensive laws -- those covering workplaces, restaurants and bars -- resulted in the highest health benefits.

    No exceptions

    "The public, health professionals and policy makers need to understand that including exemptions and loopholes in legislation -- such as exempting casinos -- condemns more people to end up in emergency rooms," said Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., senior study author and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. "These unnecessary hospitalizations are the real cost of failing to enact comprehensive smoke-free legislation."

    The findings support the American Heart Association's position that smoke-free laws should be comprehensive and apply to all workplaces and public environments, including restaurants, bars and casinos.

    The analysis also is consistent with other studies that have found smoke-free laws were followed by significant decreases in acute heart attack and other cardiac-related hospital admissions.

    "Stronger legislation means immediate reductions in secondhand smoke-related health problems as a byproduct of reductions in secondhand smoke exposure and increases in smoking cessation that accompany these laws," Glantz said. "Passage of these laws formalize and accelerate social change and the associated immediate health benefits."

    Laws that ban smoking apparently are making a difference. According to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, fewer people are en...
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    Indiana Seeks to Ban Meningitis-Linked Pharmacy

    State's attorney general says Massachusetts compounding pharmacy poses immediate danger

    The New England Compounding Center (NECC), the compounding pharmacy at the heart of the nationwide meningitis outbreak, has been shut down since late September and it's products recalled.

    But Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is taking no chances, filing an emergency petition asking the Indiana Board of Pharmacy to suspend the license of the Massachusetts pharmacy.

    Indiana, along with Tennessee, has been particularly hard hit by the outbreak. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has confirmed at least 43 cases of fungal meningitis and three deaths stemming from a tainted steroid injection produced by NECC. As a licensed non-resident pharmacy whose products are distributed and sold in Indiana, NECC is legally responsible for the “proper and safe storage and distribution of drugs and devices.”

    Immediate danger

    “It is tragically clear that this out-of-state pharmacy presents an immediate danger to public health and safety,” Zoeller said. “Our office will use all available resources to ensure Indiana patients are protected from any more harm and to pursue a formal administrative action against the company’s ability to operate in our state.”

    The Indiana Board of Pharmacy will consider the petition for summary suspension at its next meetingon Nov. 5. If the suspension is granted, the NECC could not operate in Indiana for 90 days which would give the Attorney General’s Office time to file a formal licensing complaint before the pharmacy board. Once an administrative complaint is filed, the board could then determine the appropriate disciplinary action.

    According to ISDH, there are now 1,502 Indiana residents have been exposed to the contaminated medication through an epidural or joint injection. Patients exposed in Indiana have been contacted by their healthcare provider.

    Uncharted waters

    “These are uncharted waters, but we are learning more about these infections every day,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at ISDH. “The State Health Department has been working diligently with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist Indiana medical providers with the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of infections related to use of these contaminated products. We will continue to do so until this outbreak is resolved.”

    In September, the CDC in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified the NECC as the compounding pharmacy that produced the epidural steroid injections that caused the onset of meningitis in certain patients. Shortly after, NECC ceased production and initiated a recall of the drugs.

    As of Oct. 29, the CDC had identified 354 cases of fungal meningitis across 19 states stemming from NECC’s tainted steroid injections. The cause of contamination of the steroid injections is still under investigation.

    The New England Compounding Center (NECC), the compounding pharmacy at the heart of the nationwide meningitis outbreak, has been shut down since late Septe...
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      Halloween Deadliest Day for Pedestrian Accidents

      Parents can use this data to help keep their children safe

      A child has a greater risk of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to data compiled by State Farm insurance.

      The insurance company teamed up with research expert Bert Sperling, of Sperling’s BestPlaces, to analyze the risks of this holiday that is a favorite of children. The study looked at more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31.

      That detailed analysis revealed that Halloween recorded 115 child pedestrian fatalities over the 21 years studied. That's an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.

      Useful for parents

      The study also generated some data that could prove useful for parents in keeping their children safe.

      For example, the most dangerous time on Halloween is not the midnight hour but between 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. In most time zones that's about the time daylight turns to nighttime.

      The study further showed over 60 percent of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

      Where the accidents occurred is also revealing. More than 70 percent of the accidents occurred in the middle of the block, usually when excited trick or treaters darted between parked cars.

      This can be avoided if parents stress to children to only cross a street at a corner or crosswalk.

      Most at risk

      Which children are most at risk? The data shows that most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15, accounting for 32 percent of all child fatalities. The second most vulnerable age group is children ages 5-8, who accounted for 23 percent of fatalities.

      What about the drivers in these pedestrian accidents? The study found that young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween. Drivers ages 36-40 and 61-65 were involved in the fewest child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween.

      Fortunately, the data shows that Halloween is actually getting safer with child fatalities on Halloween declining each of the last six years.

      “State Farm wants children to be safe every day of the year whether they are inside or outside of a car,” says Kellie Clapper, assistant vice president of Public Affairs at State Farm. “The analysis of this data highlights the particular need for parents to be especially alert during Halloween.”

      A child has a greater risk of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to data compiled by State Farm insuranc...
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      Study: Overusing Supplements can Cause Liver Damage

      New database provides information about supplements that may be dangerous

      Health officials have made strides in recent years alerting consumers to the dangers of too much acetaminophen and the damage it can cause to liver functions.

      But Steven Scaglione, MD, hepatology, Loyola University Health System, says there's another more common danger that consumers can easily overlook.

      “Awareness of the dangers of acetaminophen has risen but many consumers and even many health care professionals are not aware that certain popular herbal and dietary supplements can also cause liver damage,” Scaglione said. “Kava, comfrey, valerian, vitamin A, niacin and even green tea, when consumed in high doses, have been linked to liver disease.”

      LiverTox, a new database launched Oct. 12 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a searchable database of about 700 medications. It can provide a way for consumers to stay informed about ingredients that, in quantity, could be harmful.

      New website tool

      “The LiverTox web site is very user-friendly and provides evidence-based data in a clear and succinct manner,” said Scaglione.

      As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH will be adding another 300 drugs within the next few years.

      Acetaminophen does not require a prescription, so it is used in a wide variety of over-the-counter medications. But it is also present in many prescriptions. That makes it easy for a consumer to, in effect, over-dose.

      ”Therapeutic doses of acetaminophen have been associated with liver toxicity,” said Scaglione, who cares for liver patients at Loyola.

      A 2007 study also found that mixing acetaminophen and caffeine can be dangerous. Health experts have also warned for years that consuming excess alcohol while taking acetaminophen can trigger toxic interactions and cause liver damage and even death.

      Health officials have made strides in recent years alerting consumers to the dangers of too much acetaminophen and the damage it can cause to liver functio...
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      California Has a Message for App Developers

      Scores of companies informed they are violating the state's privacy laws

      Developers of mobile apps are getting some unwelcome news this week. California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is telliing them they are not in compliance with California privacy law.

      The companies were given 30 days to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app that informs users of what personally identifiable information about them is being collected and what will be done with that private information. Letters will be sent out to up to 100 non-compliant apps at this time, starting with those who have the most popular apps available on mobile platforms.

      “Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter,” Harris said. “We have worked hard to ensure that app developers are aware of their legal obligations to respect the privacy of Californians, but it is critical that we take all necessary steps to enforce California’s privacy laws.”

      The letters are the first step in taking legal action to enforce the California Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires commercial operators of online services, including mobile and social apps, which collect personally identifiable information from Californians to conspicuously post a privacy policy.

      Harris said privacy policies are an important safeguard for consumers. Privacy policies promote transparency in how companies collect, use, and share personal information. Companies can face fines of up to $2,500 each time a non-compliant app is downloaded.

      This action by Attorney General Harris follows an agreement she forged among the seven leading mobile and social app platforms to improve privacy protections for millions of users around the globe who use apps on their smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices.

      Those platforms – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion – agreed to privacy principles designed to bring the industry in line with California law requiring mobile apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy. The agreement allows consumers the opportunity to review an app’s privacy policy before they download the app rather than after, and offers consumers a consistent location for an app’s privacy policy on the application-download screen in the platform store. 

      Developers of mobile apps are getting some unwelcome news this week. California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is telliing them they are not in complian...
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      Disney Urged to Close Holiday Candy 'Marketing Loophole'

      CSPI offers ideas for a healthier Halloween

      Should Ariel, Belle and other Disney characters be shilling Dig N’ Dips, Lollipops, and Candy Rolls to young children?

      While the Walt Disney Company has won plaudits from health groups and parents for discouraging the use of its licensed characters to market junk food, Disney’s characters can be licensed to market candy to children as long as it’s Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter or any other “special occasion.”

      The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) thinks that's wrong and is calling on Disney chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger to keep Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse and Toy Story characters off candy and junk foods.

      "Disney understands as a general principal that it should take nutrition into account when it licenses characters to food companies -- and for much of the year it does," said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan. "Disney's otherwise laudable policy has a loophole that Cinderella could drive her carriage through. Twenty-five percent of candy sales occurs around four holidays, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter."

      'Encouraging' step

      An encouraging step in the right direction is a licensing arrangement Disney has with Tim Burton's FrankenWeenie movie, says CSPI. Its ghoulish characters are promoting individually wrapped packets of Paramount Farms pistachios. The packs have just 20 calories and 20 milligrams of sodium.

      The video gaming company PopCap has another great idea for Halloween, according to the group. Partnering with the American Dental Association, it is offering coupons for a free download of its wildly popular Plants v. Zombies game that parents can print out to give to trick-or-treaters. The “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign comes with tips for healthy teeth.

      Moderation in all things

      "Halloween shouldn't be candy-free, but candy doesn’t have to be the only thing handed out at every house," Wootan said. "There are plenty of things to give to kids that don't promote obesity and tooth decay."

      CSPI offers what it calls “Ghoulishly Great Ideas” for Halloween including temporary tattoos, individual packages of dried fruit, sugar-free gum and other trick-or-treating possibilities. It also provides tips for fun activities and healthier snacks for Halloween parties.  

      Should Ariel, Belle and other Disney characters be shilling Dig N’ Dips, Lollipops, and Candy Rolls to young children? While the Walt Disney Company has w...
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      New Report Finds Many American Renters Never Want to Own a Home

      Rents jump 10% over 18 months, with North Dakota, New York Leading All States

      Not everyone, it seems, has bought into the American Dream of owning their own home.

      ApartmentList.com, an apartment search engine, says its first "RentonomicsRentonomics" Report, shows a quarter of renters plan to never own a home.

      "Forty percent of American households rent," says John Kobs, CEO and co-founder of Apartment List, adding that, “one-third of renters have had their rent raised in a tough economic climate. While the resale market slowly recovers, it seems that more Americans are embracing renting for the long term."

      Rents on the rise

      An overwhelming majority of states posted an increase in asking rents since January 2011. Thirty-four out of the 45 states the study analyzed showed rising rents. Nationally, residential rents rose 9.7% between January 2011 and June 2012. Breaking it down politically, 15 red states and 19 blue states saw rents rising, while 2 red states and 9 blue states experienced falling rents.

      Renters in North Dakota (+32.9%), New York (+24.8%) and Massachusetts (+23.5%) saw the highest rent hikes around the country, while residents in Nevada (-8.6%), Louisiana (-7.4%) and Missouri (-4%) benefited most from falling rents. Due to a limited sample size, pricing data was not available for MT, SD, VT, WV and WY.

      No plans to buy

      Despite price hikes, nearly half of renters surveyed say renting is smarter than buying, and one-quarter never intend to own a home

      When asked about the length of time they plan to rent, 24% of renters say they plan to rent for the rest of their lives and 47% of all people surveyed believe renting is smarter than buying a home in today's economy. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed report that their landlords have hiked their rent in the last 12 months and 44% expect an increase in the coming 12 months. At the same time, 57% of renters expect their incomes to remain flat or decline in the coming 12 months.

      In addition, 37% of renters say home ownership is overrated and is not an important life goal. Of the 24% who said outright they do not want to be homeowners, 39% cite the expense of home ownership as a deterrent, and 31% believe that owning is too risky financially.

      Economic factor

      Fifty-five percent of renters surveyed say they wish they were homeowners and 59% say the current economy has delayed their ability or decision to buy a home. Of renters who do plan to buy a home eventually, only 4% indicated an intention to buy in the next year. 41% say they plan to rent for the next one to three years. Twenty percent plan to rent for four to five years and 7% think they will rent for six to ten years.

      Not everyone, it seems, has bought into the American Dream of owning their own home. ApartmentList.com, an apartment search engine, says its first "Renton...
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      Website Provides Sneak Peak at Black Friday Ads

      Store also planning to take on more temporary help for the holidays

      Want to get a jump on your Black Friday shopping planning? Would it be helpful to know what bargains stores will be offering the day after Thanksgiving?

      BlackFriday.com says it will have all the ads from major chains before the big shopping day. It just released the ad slick for Bath and Body Works, which is offering its VIP Bag filled with "7 Merry Must-Haves," which it says is a $100 value.

      The Ace Hardware ad says the hardware chain will offer 20 percent off regularly priced items on Black Friday. The ad also contains a coupon for 50 percent off of one regularly priced item, under $30, on Saturday, November 24.

      The ad for Music & Arts offers a free $100 Visa gift card to the first five people who spend $199 or more on Black Friday. It also contains a coupon for 20 percent off any single regularly priced item.

      The Black Friday ad for Walmart offers a Furby for $54 and a Barbie Photo Fashion Dollar for $39.97. The Black Friday price on the Amazing Spider Man Electronic Action Figure is $16.97, according to the ad.

      Stores hiring more workers

      Retailers expect an active holiday shopping season despite the sluggish economy. A survey by CareerBuilder.com shows stores are adding more seasonal, part-time workers to help them deal with Black Friday and the weeks leading up to Christmas.

      Thirty-six percent of retailers said they plan to have extra hands on deck around the holidays -- a healthy jump from 29 percent in 2011. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive among more than 2,400 employers between August 13 and September 6, 2012.

      “An increase in consumer confidence is helping to fuel the best seasonal hiring the U.S. has seen in recent years,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “While the bulk of seasonal recruitment falls within the retail space, companies across industries are hiring for a wide range of positions to support their business operations as they wrap up the year.”

      If you are interested in picking up one of these jobs, the survey shows the largest number of openings -- 23 percent -- will probably be in customer service. About 15 percent of the new jobs will be in administrative and clerical support.

      More than six-in-ten (62 percent) employers plan to pay holiday staff $10 or more an hour in 2012, up from 53 percent last year. Twenty-two percent will pay $16 or more -- up from 14 percent last year.

      Want to get a jump on your Black Friday shopping planning? Would it be helpful to know what bargains stores will be offering the day after Thanksgiving?B...
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      Poll Finds 'Strutting Your Stuff' Helps in a Tight Job Market

      MBA students, employers find innovative ways to stand out

      You have your MBA and the world is at your feet, with top companies begging you to come to work for them, right? Maybe in some alternative universe. But here on planet earth, it's a little tougher.

      A a new poll conducted by Deloitte finds 95 percent of students surveyed from top graduate business schools in the country feel the need to distinguish themselves from their peers and are finding new and creative ways to do so in light of a challenging economy.

      Students polled participated in the sixth annual National MBA Human Capital Case Competition, funded by Deloitte and General Electric (GE), on Oct. 20-21 at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

      The new media in play

      Results of the Deloitte poll show the majority of students have been leveraging social media and opportunities provided by employers, such as the Human Capital Case Competition. Ninety-two percent of students surveyed believe these types of professional practice opportunities are effective ways to distinguish themselves from their peers.

      In addition to providing top MBA students with a way to stand out, employers are also able to differentiate themselves as innovative employers in the market and thus attract top talent.

      Additional strategies identified in the survey as useful for gaining traction with respect to employment post-graduation include: attending networking events (100 percent) and industry/job-specific career fairs (69 percent); joining social media groups (88 percent) and professional business societies (51 percent); and participating in mock interviews (72 percent).

      Dealing with pressure

      Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University captured top honors at the competition, which recognizes student teams’ problem- solving and analytical skills, creativity and ability to stay focused under pressure. University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and The Yale School of Management collected second-place and third-place honors, respectively.

      This year’s competition engaged MBA students in solving real-world human capital business issues, allowing Deloitte and GE to glean insight into the participants’ perceptions of some of today’s most pressing workforce issues to better understand the goals, expectations and desires of this next generation of leaders.

      “Today's top talent is increasingly savvy at developing new strategies to stand out in a competitive job market,” said Garth Andrus, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s human capital practice. "Many are turning to social media sites to help secure interviews and some are entering case competitions, like the National MBA Human Capital Case Competition, to get a leg up on their peers. We have learned as much from the students as they have from being involved in solving real world problems. Moreover, we are fortunate to have had a number of great competitors from past events join Deloitte.”

      The competitors

      Following is a list of the 12 MBA programs (listed in alphabetical order) chosen to compete in teams of five for $14,000 in cash prizes and be named National MBA Human Capital Case Competition champions:

      • Emory Goizueta Business School
      • The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
      • Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary
      • Michigan Ross School of Business
      • Michigan State University Broad College of Business
      • Purdue University Krannert School of Management
      • The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business
      • Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University
      • UCLA Anderson School of Management
      • University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
      • Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
      • The Yale School of Management
      You have your MBA and the world is at your feet, with top companies begging you to come to work for them, right? Maybe in some alternative universe. But he...
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      Sandy Takes Control, the Rest of Us Just Watch and Hope

      "Frankenstorm" brings business, government, education, even politics to a standstill

      Wherever you are, it's hard to escape the effects of Sandy, the massive and powerful storm that is threatening to turn the East Coast into a soggy mess.

      The storm itself is so much bigger than your average tropical storm or hurricane that it is bringing high winds and heavy rains as far west as Indiana. More significantly, although it is arguably affecting only the eastern one-third or so of the country, it is the equivalent of a federal holiday just about everywhere.

      Wall Street is closed. The federal government is closed. Airline travel is disrupted. Express package delivery is affected. The political campaign, seemingly a force of nature itself, has had the wind swept from its sails. Even Broadway and the Atlantic City casinos are closed.

      In a nation that just a few days ago was on the edge of its seat over a baseball game and a presidential contest, such pursuits have been shown to be relatively trivial when the real forces of nature take charge.

      Those who live in hurricane zones have been through this before, of course, but in an odd way that doesn't make it easier. It's the waiting that gets tedious, not to mention the wondering about whether this really will be the Big One. At least Californians aren't told days in advance that the earth is going to shift around. It just happens suddenly, and then it's over and it's either bad or not so bad.

      It will be at least this time tomorrow before we know how bad it was this time. In the meantime, those in the path are trying to be patient while everyone else is no doubt tired of hearing about it. 

      Economic effects

      Beyond the human toll, a storm of this magnitude could have a devastating effect on the nation's still-fragile economy.  On the other hand, as economists always hasten to add, it could also be beneficial.

      "Disasters can give the ailing construction sector a boost, and unleash smart reinvestment that actually improves stricken areas and the lives of those that survive intact. Ultimately, Americans, as they always seem to do, will emerge stronger in the wake of disaster and rebuild better — making a brighter future in the face of tragedy," said University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business economist Peter Morici, while also conceding that in the short term, damage from the storm could be as high as $35 billion.

      Morici, quoted in the Washington Business Journal. said that "rebuilding after Sandy, especially in an economy with high unemployment and underused resources in the construction industry, will unleash at least $15 billion to $20 billion in new direct private spending — likely more as many folks rebuild larger than before, and the capital stock that emerges will prove more economically useful and productive."  

      Perhaps no one is more scared of Frankenstorm than retailers who had been counting on a burst of last-minute Halloween spending, which had been expected to hit $8 billion this year.

      With the country's most populous region still likely to be hunkered down inside on Halloween, what retailers had hoped would be a treat is likely to turn into a big rotten trick. 

      Biggest ever

      Schools, government offices and mass transit closed today from Washington to Boston and beyond as Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least five dozen people in the Caribbean, took aim at more than 60 million as it moved up the East Coast towards the country's most densely populated region.

      As it moves north, the giant storm is expected to meet up with two other powerful winter storm systems, creating an even more threatening hybrid. At mid-morning Monday, it officially became the largest tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic.

      Crisis map

      Google's Crisis Map combines information from the National Hurricane Center, American Red Cross and other trusted sources. It offers details about the storm's current and forecasted locations, emergency shelter locations, live webcam feeds, public safety alerts, traffic conditions, and a wealth of other vital information.

      The New York Times, meanwhile, is publishing a state-by-state guide to Sandy. Both the Times and the Wall Street Journal have turned off their paywalls during the storm. 

      Besides hurricane-force winds, the massive storm system is expected to blanket the region with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow, threatening New York Harbor, Long Island Sound and other coastal areas with flash flooding.

      Mandatory evacuation orders were issued in much of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, as well as along the exposed outer coastlines of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.  Beaches began to disappear and in Ocean City, Maryland, a large pier collapsed.

      Officials warned that some barrier islands, many lined with expensive beach homes, could be wiped out by a massive storm surge.  

      Outages a certainty

      Power outages and communications interruptions are expected to last for days and possibly weeks, as the storm-soaked ground and high winds combine to fell trees throughout the region.

      Phone companies are trying to prepare -- topping off fuel for backup generators and lining up disaster recovery trailers to move into flooded areas after the storm passes. Verizon says its network is operating normally so far (as of about 2 p.m).

      Local and state governments scrambled to prepare for the brewing disaster. In Fairfax County, Va., officials issued these preparedness tips:

      1.)    Supplies: Get your supplies – water, medicines, canned food, cash, pet food and more. We strongly recommend that you be prepared with at least three days of supplies.

      2.)    Gas: Fill your car’s gas tank. Gas stations will be in short supply in a power outage.

      3.)    Generators: If you have a generator or plan to buy one, please be familiar with safety tips.

      4.)    Food Safety:  Power outages and flooding may happen as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane, so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer.

      5.)    Outdoor Items: Plan to secure all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

      6.)    Trees: Remove dead limbs on trees that could fall on your property (home, car, land).

      7.)    Leaves: Clear leaves from storm drains, gutters and other areas that, if clogged, could cause flooding.

      8.)   Weather Forecasts: Pay close attention to weather forecasts for the latest storm track. We will provide guidance as needed. Purchase or charge up your weather radio. If you have a weather radio that uses SAME codes, Fairfax County’s SAME code is 051059.

      9.)    Tech Ready: View our Digital Preparedness Kit, which is an important way to stay informed and connected before, during and after an emergency.

      10.) Phone Numbers: Save important phone numbers to your phone or write them down, especially your power company. Always report a power outage.

      Best battery

      Consumer Reports magazine chimed in with some suggestions. If you're getting your flashlights ready to do battle, the magazine says the Energizer Ultimate lithium lasted the longest in the Consumer Reports flashlight tests, making it their recommendation for consumers who don’t want to get caught in the dark.  

      Also check out Consumer Reports generators ratings, and if generators in your area are all sold out CR has identified power inverters that can keep your refrigerator running when attached to your car battery. 

      Wherever you are, it's hard to escape the effects of Sandy, the massive and powerful storm that is threatening to turn the East Coast into a soggy mess.T...
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      Keeping Your Pet Safe as Hurricane Sandy Blows Through

      A few simple steps will help ensure that you and your companion stay safe

      You've battened down the hatches in advance of Hurricane Sandy, but have you take care to make sure your pets are safe?

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering these tips to help residents protect the health of their animals in the event of power failures, flooding and other problems that could be associated with the storm.

      Follow state or local officials for emergency information, such as your local Emergency Alert System television or radio stations, and fire, police and other local emergency response organizations.

      Pet safety

      If you have not been ordered to evacuate, make sure you have enough pet food and water on hand to feed your pets during an emergency.

      If you have been ordered to evacuate by state or local authorities, take your pets with you when you go. If you need assistance, such as persons relying on public transportation or with medical special needs, contact your emergency management agency for instructions.

      To keep your pets safe during the evacuation, secure them with a collar/harness and leash, or in a pet carrier, to safely transport them. For everyone's safety, you may also wish to bring a muzzle if your pet doesn't react well in stressful situations.

      An emergency pet shelter might be available near the human emergency shelter, check with your local emergency management agency to find the nearest emergency pet shelter to you. Do not stay behind with your pet if state or local officials order you to evacuate.

      If a pet shelter is located near a human shelter, pet owners could be allowed to visit and care for their pets during designated times.

      At nearby shelters, pet owners may be allowed to care for and walk their pets during designated times.

      Pet owners should be prepared to provide the following information to pet shelter workers if possible: name; species and breed; sex; color; distinctive markings; age; microchip identification number; vaccination records; health conditions and required medication.

      What to bring to the shelter

      Other useful items to bring to a shelter are:

      • a clear and current photo of you with your pet
      • an extra collar, leash, and/or harness that fits
      • favorite toys
      • any medications and special diets for their pets
      • information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
      • a pet carrier/kennel large enough for your pet to sleep in comfortably
      You've battened down the hatches in advance of Hurricane Sandy, but have you take care to make sure your pets are safe? The U.S. Department of Agriculture...
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      Meet Boxee, a Cloud-Based DVR That's the Latest Entry in the TV/Streaming Video Derby

      New gadget lets you control video on all your devices and offers a no-limit DVR

      Everybody's heard of Apple and for years we've been hearing how Apple -- oh, and also Google -- were about to build a simple interface, or "box," that would let us grab over-the-air TV, unencrypted cable shows and Internet video (Netflix and so forth) simply and inexpensively.

      Of course, no one has really delivered on that promise, except possibly for a little company nobody's ever heard of. It's called Boxee and it makes something called -- what else? -- Boxee TV.  

      What this little gadget does is pull in video from anywhere, including all the sources we mentioned above, and stream it to the various devices in your house. 

      It also acts as a DVR, letting you record programs and play them back later. But instead of being a "real" DVR -- a rather hulking device with a couple of hard drives inside -- the Boxee is a cloud-based DVR, meaning it stores the shows you save on its own system and then streams them back to you when you want to watch them.

      Boxee calls it the "No Limits DVR" and explains it this way: "Instead of storing your recording on a local hard-drive, Boxee TV uploads your recordings to the cloud. It means there are no limits to how much you can record and no limits to where you watch - on your laptop, tablet and, of course, your TV."

      Easily controlled

      All of this can be controlled from your laptop or from the remote that comes with the Boxee. Besides a couple of simple controls (play, pause, etc.), it has a full QWERTY keyboard so you can select programs without going through the maddening point-and-guess process of the ridiculous remotes now supplied by cable companies.

      You don't have cable? You may not need it. If you get decent over-the-air TV, you can get digital high-def over-the-air broadcasts. You may need an antenna and, oh by the way, Boxee supplies an internal antenna as part of its basic package. You may not an external antenna, depending on where you live. 

      As for cable shows, many of them make their way fairly quickly to the Internet and  Boxee will go and find them for you if you ask it to, again using your laptop or the keyboard remote.

      What's the advantage of this over Apple TV? Well, for one thing, it's what we might call "open"  -- it will fetch and play video from just about anywhere, not just from iTunes. Google may trump Boxee eventually but hasn't done so yet. 

      Boxee is rolling out first in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and D.C. with more markets to follow in 2013.

      What's it cost?

      Becoming a DVR subscriber will cost your $14.99 a month. Buying the Boxee Box is $99. 

      So, does this replace something you're already paying for? Maybe. You might be able to get rid of cable, assuming you get a strong local TV signal and can find most of the cable shows you want on Netflix, VUDU, etc. And, of course, if you're paying an extra charge for one or more DVRs from your cable company or from TiVo, you could give them the heave-ho. It could also save you the cost of additional room hook-ups. 

      However it turns out, Boxee looks intriguing and we'll be getting a unit for testing as quickly as possible.

      Everybody's heard of Apple and for years we've been hearing how Apple -- oh, and also Google -- were about to build a simple interface, or "box," that woul...
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      Sherwin-Williams, PPG Settle FTC Charges

      The companies allegedly misled consumers about the safety of their paints

      Two of the nation’s leading paint companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they misled consumers to believe that some of their paints are free of potentially harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

      The settlements require Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes to stop making the allegedly deceptive claim that their Dutch Boy Refresh and Pure Performance interior paints, respectively, contain “zero” volatile organic compounds.

      The FTC says while this may be true for the uncolored “base” paints, it is not true for tinted paint, which typically has much higher levels of the compounds, and which consumers usually buy.

      Hard to confirm claims

      VOCs are carbon-containing compounds that easily evaporate at room temperatures. Some VOCs can be harmful to human health and the environment. Historically interior paints, which are the subject of the FTC’s cases against Sherwin-Williams and PPG, have contained significant levels of VOCs.

      “Environmental claims, like the VOC-free claims in this case, are very difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to confirm,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “That’s why it’s so important for the FTC to give clear guidance to marketers, like the Commission’s recently revised Green Guides, and to police the market to ensure that consumers actually get what they pay for.”

      Wide scope

      With annual sales of $7.8 billion, Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams is the largest coatings manufacturer in the United States and the third-largest in the world. It markets and sells product under the Sherwin-Williams, Dutch Boy, Krylon, Minwax, and Thompson’s WaterSeal brands.

      PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. (PPG) is headquartered in Pittsburgh. A subsidiary of PPG Industries, Inc., it does business under its own name, as well as under the names PPG, Pittsburgh Paints, Porter Paints, Pure Performance Paints and Olympic stain.

      'False statements' alleged

      The FTC’s administrative complaints against Sherwin-Williams and PPG charge the companies with violating the FTC Act by making false and unsubstantiated claims that that their paints contain “zero VOCs” after tinting.

      Sherwin-Williams and PPG make their “zero-VOC” claims through a variety of media, including brochures, point-of-purchase marketing, product labels, and the Internet. Some of these materials are disseminated to independent distributors.

      The FTC contends that consumers likely reasonably interpret the companies’ “zero-VOC” claims as applying to the final product -- tinted paint, which is made by adding color to a base paint to produce the final color the customer desires; and that they understand the claims to mean that the paint has no VOCs or only a “trace amount” of VOCs.

      According to the FTC, however, in many instances, both Sherwin-Williams’s Dutch Boy Refresh and PPG’s Pure Performance paints contain more than trace levels of VOCs after the base paint is tinted. The complaints also charge the companies with distributing promotional materials that provided independent retailers with the means to deceptively advertise that the companies’ paints contain zero VOCs.

      Terms of settlement

      The proposed consent orders settling the FTC’s charges are the same for both Sherwin-Williams and PPG. First, they prohibit the companies from claiming that their paints contain “zero VOCs,” unless, after tinting, they have a VOC level of zero grams per liter, or the companies have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the paint contains no more than trace levels of VOCs. The definition of “trace” comes from the “trace amount” test included in the FTC’s recently released updated Green Guides for environmental marketing claims.

      Alternately, the orders would allow the companies to disclose clearly and prominently that the “zero VOC” claims apply only to the base paint, and that depending on the consumer’s color choice, the VOC level may rise. In cases where the tinted paint’s VOC level could be 50 grams per liter or more, the proposed orders require the companies to disclose that the VOC level may increase “significantly” or “up to [the highest possible VOC level after tinting].”

      In addition, the orders prohibit the companies from making any VOC claim or other environmental claim unless it is true and not misleading, and unless the companies have competent scientific evidence to back it up.

      Finally, the proposed orders prohibit both Sherwin-Williams and PPG from providing anyone, including independent retailers or distributors, with the means of making any of the prohibited deceptive claims. The orders also would require the companies to send letters to retailers requiring them to remove all ads for the covered paints that have “zero VOC” claims and putting corrective stickers on current paint cans making these claims.

      Two of the nation’s leading paint companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they misled consumers to believe that some of...
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      Study: If You Want Successful Children Put Off Kindergarten for One Year

      Kids born in June and July shouldn't start kindergarten when September hits, say researchers

      It’s all a bit hazy, but believe it or not I do remember a little bit about kindergarten.

      I vaguely recall forming lines to go to other parts of the school, playing on the jungle gym at recess, and having a crush on a girl named Sharon Price--who would ultimately choose a guy named Alan because he always had Jolly Ranchers in his pocket. It was just the beginning of me losing girls to other guys who had cooler things than I did.

      Alan was older and taller than me too, which couldn’t have worked in my favor, and according to a new study parents should be waiting an extra year to enroll their kids in school when their birthdays are during the summer months.

      Researchers from the University of British Columbia suggest holding off enrollment for a short while could allow your child to be more successful, not only with their schooling, but also when they become adults and enter the professional world.

      Fewer CEOs

      Researchers at the Canadian school found that children who were enrolled in kindergarten as soon as they were eligible—as opposed to waiting one year later—grew up to fill fewer CEO positions than those kids who started kindergarten later on.

      “Our findings indicate that summer babies underperform in the ranks of CEOs as a result of the ‘birthdate-effect’ a phenomenon resulting from the way children are grouped by age in school,” explained one of the study authors Maurice Levi.

      “Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed. Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life.”

      Parents of those kids who turn kindergarten age during the summer months have to decide, “Do I want my child to be one of the youngest and possibly least developed academically or socially in the class, or do I prefer my child to be among the oldest, which increases their chance to standout and outperform classmates.” It’s a mental back and forth many parents have to discuss with each other.

      Not just age

      And it’s not only age that makes a difference when kids start school. Size can also be a factor because some parents prefer their children to be one of the bigger students in the class as this sometimes leads to the child having more confidence, and increases their chances of excelling in physical activities during gym class or recess.

      Researchers believe developing a good amount of confidence at an early age only raises the chances of that confidence staying with the child, as there will always be an age and potential size difference compared to other classmates for the child's whole academic career.

      The study also revealed the amount of CEOs who have birthdays in June and July far outweigh those CEOs who were born in the other 10 months of the year.

      “Our evidence is consistent with the ‘relative-age effect’ due to school admissions grouping together children with age differences up to one year, with children born in June and July disadvantaged throughout life by being younger than their classmates born in other months,” said the researchers in the study.

      “Our results suggest that the relative-age effect has a long-lasting influence on career success.”

      Earlier not always better

      Many parents believe enrolling a child into kindergarten when they become old enough during the summer, allows them to practically get an extra year of schooling, as some would say “the earlier the better” when it comes to children learning how to read, count and spell their names.

      And although some younger kindergarteners may actually outshine older classmates in these areas, sometimes they don’t do as well socially, as being the youngest and smallest student from the point of kindergarten all the way up until high school never really scores them any points with their peers.

      In fact, younger age children and those with a smaller physical stature could be subject to teasing and ridicule from other children.

      Levi says this could affect a child’s level of confidence by a great deal, which they can carry with them when applying for jobs after college graduation, especially those jobs that are in leadership roles.

      This can not only have a big impact on the child’s future, but also to the business world, that could potentially have fewer capable and confident leaders.

      “We could be excluding some of the business world’s best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early,” said Levi.

      It’s all a bit hazy, but believe it or not I do remember a little bit about kindergarten.I vaguely recall forming lines to go to other parts o...
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      East Coast Storm Takes a Toll on Air Travel

      Getting somewhere on a plane this week may prove to be a problem

      In addition to the evacuations in the Hurricane Sandy impact zone along the East Coast, air travel throughout the U.S. is being affected by weather-related flight delays and cancellations. Delays and cancellations at airports in the storm's path affect the entire system, because of connecting flights.

      Nearly 8,000 flights have been cancelled, or are expected to be cancelled, before the storm runs its course by late this week. It's not just high winds forcing the cancellations. New York City, for example, has suspended mass transit services, which is how many passengers get to and from airports.

      Airports like New York's Laguardia, which is located on the water, face the possibility of flooding from the storm surge.

      Suspended flights

      Nearly all airlines have suspended flights at East Coast airports. Southwest Airlines, for example, suspended operations at 13 East Coast airports on Sunday, including Philadelphia.

      “The resumption of service at Philadelphia will be contingent upon the condition of the runways, taxiways, and airport services,” Southwest said on its website. “Southwest is offering flexible travel accommodations for our customers who are planning to travel to/from Philadelphia on Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30.”

      United Airlines says where severe weather and other uncontrollable events are affecting the airline's operations, it may issue an exception policy, waiving change fees, designed to accommodate customers with restricted tickets who wish to change their travel in advance of any potential disruption, as long as the travel was booked no later than October 26.

      29 airports

      It listed 29 airports where operations were impacted and these exemptions might be granted.

      American Airlines announced a similar exemption policy and said it is continuing to adjust its schedules because of the storm.

      “You may be experiencing some cancellations or delays as a result of some of the operational challenges we have been experiencing recently,” the airline said. “We are extending our limited schedule reductions through the first half of November, and apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. The planned flight reductions will not impact your holiday travel.”

      JetBlue announced it would also waive change and cancellation fees for travel booked to or from New York area airports, Washington, Baltimore, Boston and Richmond, Va. Travel must have been booked on or before October 26.

      The Federal Aviation Administration operates a webpage that monitors delays at airports. You can find it here.

      In addition to the evacuations in the Hurricane Sandy impact zone along the East Coast, air travel throughout the U.S. is being affected by weather-related...
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      Are You Ready for a Robot Helper?

      Most older people are receptive to the idea

      The idea of a robot as domestic help is nothing new. Woody Allen employed the concept with hilarious results in 1973's “Sleeper.”

      But scientists have always been serious about the idea and are now tweaking robotic models that can help around the house, particularly in households with older adults. The question, however, is would older adults want a robot helper rather than a human?

      When researchers at Georgia Tech asked that question, they got a resounding “yes,” with one caveat. For personal tasks and social activities, older adults prefer human help.

      Participants in the study generally preferred robotic help over human help for chores such as cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and taking out the trash. But when it came to help getting dressed, eating and bathing, the adults tended to say they would prefer human assistance over robot assistance. They also preferred human help for social activities, such as calling family and friends or entertaining guests.


      “There are many misconceptions about older adults having negative attitudes toward robots,” said Georgia Tech’s Cory-Ann Smarr a School of Psychology graduate teaching assistant. “The people we interviewed were very enthusiastic and optimistic about robots in their daily lives. They were also very particular in their preferences, something that can assist researchers as they determine what to design and introduce in the home.”

      Smarr and Psychology Professor Wendy Rogers, the principal investigator on the project, also noticed that preferences varied across tasks, such as medication. For instance, adults said they are willing to use a robot for reminders to take medicine, but they are more comfortable if a person helps them decide which medication to take.

      “It seems that older people are less likely to trust a robot with decision-making tasks than with monitoring or physical assistance,” said Rogers. “Researchers should be careful not to generalize preferences when designing assistive robots.”

      The older adults in the study were all healthy and independent, and nearly 75 percent said they used everyday technologies such as cell phones and appliances.

      Many said they don’t need immediate assistance. The research team is planning future studies for adults who currently need help with everyday tasks.

      The idea of a robot as domestic help is nothing new. Woody Allen employed the concept with hilarious results in 1973's “Sleeper.”But scientis...
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      Current TV Could Be Up For Sale

      Reports suggest the troubled network may go to the next highest bidder.

      Anybody want to buy a TV network?

      The progressive and left-of-center cable channel Current TV is reportedly up for sale after suffering from low ratings and multiple changes in both programming and on-air personalities.

      It’s been an interesting seven years for the cable network created and brought to life by former Vice President Al Gore in 2005.

      For some viewers Current has been one of the go-to channels for compelling documentaries and political talk, while hiring some pretty big names from both the television and political worlds like former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and co-host of The View Joy Bailey.

      Current has even found a place for former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, whose political career went down in flames after the New York Times reported he was paying for high-priced prostitutes back in 2008.

      Since its beginning, Current has seemed to cater to a younger and more politically-minded viewing audience and has often covered subject matter that was either too out-of-the-box or edgy for mainstream media, which has made the network stand out from its competitors.

      But sadly, the inventive programming also made it a niche channel that catered to a very specific corner of the viewing audience.

      Olbermann ousted

      In March of this year, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was fired from Current, which spawned a public back and forth between the famed TV personality and the cable network, and since then, Current has really tried to brand itself has a lefty political network, as opposed to years past -- when it shifted between politics and in-your-face-styled exposes.

      After failing to reach audiences beyond the younger demographic it catered to, Current has seemingly lost its way in terms of balancing edgy programming with more middle of the road content, which appeals to larger audiences.

      And although it reaches about 60 million households in the United States, that doesn't mean many people watch it; many just don't think of Current as the first place to go when it comes to global news, politics or creative documentaries.

      As a result the network has suffered, and many have approached Vice President Gore, and Current’s CEO Joel Hyatt, about buying the station and possibly turning it into something entirely new.

      “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company, said Hyatt in an interview with the New York Post. “This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”

      If Current TV is ultimately purchased, it will be interesting to see if the network will get a complete makeover or if the new owners will just make some needed adjustments and programming tweaks.

      Some may say the station doesn’t need to do that much to appeal to a wider audience, other than include lighter content, maybe some entertainment news, and grab a few more celebrities for interviews and guest-hosting.

      It’s sad but this is seemingly what many viewers prefer over content that’s loaded with layered substance and thought-provoking material.

      Better marketing

      But where Current really needs improvement is in the area of marketing and letting people know what channels it’s on and what times programs run. Also what hurts the station is not being able to successfully promote and market itself outside the demographic that it’s trying to reach.

      For some reason the network has done a lot of preaching-to-the-choir  marketing, while those not familiar with Current remain in the dark.

      There has been no official word about any specific offers in terms of dollar amount, but it’s pretty safe to say that Current may not be Current in the near future, as the new owners could take it from a source of creative programming to just a plain old cable network. Stay tuned, folks.

      Anybody want to buy a TV network?The progressive and left of center cable channel Current TV is reportedly up for sale after suffering from low ratings a...
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      The Raspberry Pi: $25 Computer Teaches Kids Computer Programming

      And its creators the Raspberry Pi Foundation wants to ship these computers around the globe.

      Around the early 1980s many schools started incorporating computer classes in their curricula, as big clunky desktop computers were just starting to hit the market.

      Both teachers and students learned how to do things like navigate the keyboard and turn the screen on and off, because even though teachers knew a little more than students about computers, it was still pretty new to everyone.

      Fast forward to 2012, when using desktops, laptops and mobile devices couldn’t be more commonplace, and by the time most children are able to sit by themselves or stand, they’ve already figured out at least the basics of computer navigation, which makes computer classes not as important as they used to be.

      Some would say the students could probably teach the teachers a thing or two about computers nowadays.

      Below the surface

      But how many children actually know how computers are built, or how they’re internally designed?

      Learning how to use a PC is as easy as pie nowadays, especially because they’re made so user-friendly. But when it comes to how to build computers and create applications, there aren’t too many middle schools or high schools that teach those kinds of courses.

      Well, a company by the name of the Raspberry Pi Foundation wants to change all of that, as it has created a small an inexpensive computer for children that will teach them about computer programming, so kids won’t only know how to use Google or play a game, they can also learn how computers actually work.

      The idea behind the foundation and their product the Raspberry Pi, was to create a computer primarily for writing simple software and learning the basics of computer hardware. But it also works as a regular PC, capable of running video games, word processing and web access.

      The Raspberry Pi only uses an SD card for storage, and comes without a monitor keyboard. Kids can plug in a keyboard and hook up their TVs, which might be a slight inconvenience, but the Pi goes for only $25 or $35 depending on which model you choose. Consumers can purchase it through global distributors, RS Components and Premier Farnell/Element 14. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is based in the United Kingdom.

      Under the hood

      The Raspberry Pi is actually just a circuit board ("mother-board" in geek talk), enabling students to get a clearer understanding of what goes on under the hood. The idea is to get kids just as excited about computer programming as they are about playing game consoles or using sites like Twitter or Facebook.

      Some schools like Computing at School--based in the United Kingdom--are working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation by using the circuit boards in classrooms, while also creating manuals and tutorials to help teach computer science to children.

      In fact, the Raspberry Pi’s goal is to send these inexpensive computers around the world, namely in underdeveloped countries, so the next generation of computer users will learn how to both use and build different devices.

      The UK based academic organization the Royal Society said products like the Raspberry Pi are needed for a generation of children who have seemingly gone away from being interested in courses like computer science.

      “We appear to have succeeded in making many people comfortable with using the technology that we find around us, but this seems to have been at the expense of failing to provide a deeper understanding of the rigorous academic subject of computer science,” said the Royal Society in a study it conducted.

      Raspberry Pi’s founder Eben Upton says the new board will refocus the minds of children who may be cautious about tinkering with their own computers, because the devices are typically very expensive and even more costly to repair if broken.

      “Many [children] just don’t have computers at all,” he said in a published interview. “If they do, it’s a family computer, and you don’t want to mess with it. What we’ve ended up with is something that’s very powerful from a multimedia level. We’ve styled the user experience to a recognizably modern thing while staying at the same price point.”

      Around the early 1980s many schools started incorporating computer classes in its curriculums, as big clunky desk-tops computers were just starting to hit ...
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